press release

Center City District Announces New Initiative to Promote Center City as a Premier & Unique Shopping Destination

Jill Asher, Cashman & Associates
215-627-1060 (o), 215-880-9549 (m)

Casandra Dominguez, Center City District
215-440-5533 (o)

Amidst national retail shifts, Center City District and Philadelphia Retail Marketing Alliance reveal regional consumer-facing shopping campaign

PHILADELPHIA (September 7, 2017) – On Thursday, September 7th, Center City District (CCD) and the Philadelphia Retail Marketing Alliance (PRMA) revealed a new consumer-oriented marketing campaign, Shop Center City, focused on increasing Center City’s regional market share by encouraging city and regional shoppers to discover the “Only in Center City” experience.

If it’s in, it’s in Center City.

The Philadelphia Retail Marketing Alliance (PRMA) is a collaborative effort of several major organizations with an interest in the vitality of Center City, including the Center City District (CCD), City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, PIDC, Office of the City Representative, Visit Philadelphia, and PHL Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB). Launched in 2008 to enhance the quality and quantity of Center City’s retail offerings, PRMA was designed to tell the “New Philadelphia Story” to retail developers and investors. With the launch of the Shop Center City campaign, the CCD and PRMA will also share this story with regional and city consumers.

In early 2017, CCD began a conversation with retailers, developers and retail brokers about the best way to continue to build on retail vitality in Center City and to respond to the growing strength of online shopping. In the spring of 2017, the CCD conducted a customer survey to gather information on Center City shoppers, including their spending patterns and shopping preferences. The survey was distributed to a list of 76,000 people who live and work throughout the region.

“It was clear this was not an either/or choice between online and in-store shopping. Survey respondents said that what they valued most about Center City are experiences you cannot find anywhere else in the region or online.” said Paul Levy, President & CEO, Center City District. “They liked our walkability, diversity of food, entertainment, cultural offerings, and the strong presence of local shops. Seventy-nine percent of respondents noted they that while they shop online, 76% simultaneously shopped in Center City with around 30% frequenting a regional mall.”

These experiences and additional consumer data guided the direction of the Shop Center City campaign messaging and communication vehicles. The new advertising campaign launched just before Labor Day and features real life, Philadelphia-based brand ambassadors engaging in their favorite downtown shopping activities. Ads are being placed in print media, bus shelters, car cards and digital screens on Regional Rail, and LED screens at Dilworth Park, and will be supplemented with content on social media channels and (the website for the campaign).

The new campaign will seek to expand Center City’s customer base and increase retail demand, supporting brick-and-mortar stores downtown. Through traditional and non-traditional media outlets, the Shop Center City campaign will drive consumers to interactive vehicles, which feature the local ambassadors telling their Center City shopping stories, including the unique mix of local and national brands and retailers which make-up the experiential nature of Center City’s shopping districts.

The campaign will continue through the holiday season aligning with seasonal gift-giving and dressing for festive holiday happenings.

The campaign was created by Philadelphia’s LevLane advertising agency. PR and social media elements of the campaign are being produced by Cashman and Associates and CCD’s interactive team.

While downtown Philadelphia’s retail market has grown significantly in the last decade, the Shop Center City campaign will reinforce Center City’s strengths and respond to recent changes in the national retail sector. Globally, retailers are challenged both by the need to find the right mix of online and brick-and-mortar locations and the need to create a diversified environment that brings shoppers into stores. Center City’s urban and walkable environment, along with its diverse retail mix, naturally creates the shopping experiences others regionally and nationally are attempting to replicate. The campaign seeks to capture Center City’s built-in urban experience and communicate this to the regional customer.

Since 2013, more than 54 national retailers have chosen to open a location in Center City with local boutiques and retailers continuing to grow, differentiating downtown Philadelphia from regional malls. In addition, e-commerce driven retailers such as Warby Parker, Indochino, UNTUCKit and Bonobos have found brick-and-mortar locations in Center City to broaden their name recognition and customer base. Despite a handful of national retailers shuttering stores and declaring bankruptcy, vacancies on prime retail corridors in Center City are 4.5%. By comparison, in Q2 2017 retail vacancies hit 10% nationally and 8.2% regionally.
While new national tenants diversify the downtown marketplace, creating both entry-level and higher-skilled jobs, local retailers, boutiques and independents represent 77% of the downtown’s retail mix. Overall Center City retail, restaurant, leisure and hospitality venues provide 46,000 jobs, a majority of which are held by Philadelphia residents.

More than 2 million square feet of retail is currently under development in Center City, as older shopping streets are transformed and Philadelphia’s prime shopping district continues to expand. The biggest investment is happening east of Broad Street, where full-block sites can accommodate large-scale projects. Center City East will add more than 1 million square feet of retail over the next few years, representing an $815 million investment in an area that had lagged for decades.

For more information and updates on the Shop Center City campaign, visit and follow @ShopCenterCity on Instagram and Twitter.

The Center City District, a business improvement district dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at and on Facebook and Twitter.


PRMA is a partnership between the Center City District (CCD), City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, PIDC, Office of the City Representative, Visit Philadelphia, and PHL Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB). With input from retailers, brokers and property owners, PRMA was launched in 2008 to build a strong, public-private retail attraction program for Center City Philadelphia